By Hannah Johnson
This weekend, ESPN’s College GameDay travels to the Ole Miss campus for the football game against Texas A&M. This will be the second time in the show’s history visiting Oxford and Rebel fans are excited.
According to the Athletics department, this is expected to be a paramount game in our season, as Texas A&M is ranked No. 14 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, while Ole Miss is ranked No. 16. Both teams have a 7-2 record.
“It is an incredible honor, first and foremost,” says Daniel Zewde, Assistant A.D. for Digital Strategy & Analytics. “They don’t travel just anywhere in the country, so it’s great exposure for the city of oxford, for the University of Mississippi’s campus, as well and the students, student-athletes, and staff and faculty here on campus.”
Zewde expressed how important something like this is for Ole Miss, and how lucky we are to be able to experience it.
“It’s exciting because it’s a big game for us,” he said. “It’s a nighttime kick off so we’re getting prime time on television. We’re getting a lot of interaction, both on social media and at the grassroots level, with the number of people who will be here at the grove. It’s a very exciting time to be an Ole Miss Rebel.”
The last time College Gameday came to Oxford, in 2014, Ole Miss beat third-ranked Alabama from a fourth quarter deficit for a final score of 23-17. This was a game that went down in fans’ hearts as one to remember. Janice Rubbert, Associate Director for Digital Strategy and Fan Experience, says that what happened when College Gameday was here last makes this even more special.
“With it being the second time [the show] has ever come here, it’s really, really special because what happened in 2014 was epic,” she said. “The Grove is such a special place. With having the top tailgating atmosphere, it’s cool to be able to show off to the rest of the world, or to people who may not see that every weekend, what an incredible place Oxford is, what an incredible place Ole Miss is, and what a great atmosphere we have here.”
Last time, Katy Perry became an Ole Miss icon as the show’s guest picker. While this year’s guest picker is still a mystery, some fans of the show, such as Ole Miss student John Allen Corlew, say they may have an idea who it could be.
“I’ve got a feeling if she’s free it’s going to be Katy Perry,” says Corlew. “She seemed to really enjoy Oxford the last time she was here and I’ve heard a lot of buzz around her name in the past few weeks. I wouldn’t be mad if it were Morgan Freeman though. I just hope it’s someone fun and that they bring a lot of energy.”
Fans, like Corlew, are excited to have such an important program come to Oxford and believe it will bring our team good luck.
“I’m pumped about College Gameday,” Corlew said. “It’s hard to not be excited when something like that is in town, and of course it’s hard to not acknowledge what happened the last time they were here.”